My previous work ‘Leap of Faith’ explored the idea of the animals placing their trust in a messenger. With ‘Enlightenment’, I’ve taken things a step further. 

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A bee arrives amidst the darkness, protected in one of those bubbles I’ve grown so fond of… It brings a message of hope to all who see it. Today, it appears to a Dryad of the woods, along with her companions. All are entranced by the sight, but only the Dryad is brave enough to touch the visitor’s shell and receive its message. She knows it won’t burst; that it’s stronger than she knows.

Within the world this ‘Carnival of Wonders’ is building, painting-by-painting, the humble Bee turns out to be more important than we know. In ‘Leap of Faith’, its presence leads the animals in a headlong rush to jump into space, protected only with the thought that the Bee will never lead them astray. Now, it’s offering ‘Enlightenment’. Whether profound or mundane, difficult or comforting, we seek answers to life’s questions all the time. With this painting, I’m saying that – sometimes – the answers we seek can be found right in front of us. And all we have to do?


There are loads of details, here. Let’s start with the Dryad herself. Look close and you’ll find that her earrings, arm-band and bracelet all carry a bee theme… Just why that is, I’ll leave to your imagination! Perhaps this encounter is a regular occurrence and she wears these tokens to honour them. Or perhaps she’s the intended recipient of the messages… I love her flaming red hair & freckles; reminds me so much of my own grand-daughter Izzie and of the girl in ‘The Whisperer’; the first painting in ‘The Carnival’.

On her shoulder, sits a cheeky little Hedgehog. Already armoured to a degree, I just gave her a little golden tiara and a Moon Daisy. Originally, the daisy was meant to attract the bee, but now that it’s here, Hedgie feels hungry! Atop the Dryad’s head, sits a Red Squirrel, wearing a Golden Fez. Keen watchers of my work, will recognise the Fez as having some importance, so perhaps this Squirrel might return one day… Behind the scene, looms a gentle Red Stag; I was particularly pleased with how the engravings on his collar turned-out. That dynamic shadowing really adds to the punchiness.

An attentive Hare & Badger sit by the Dryad’s arm. Once again, their armour needed particular attention if it wasn’t to overpower the scene, so I deliberately kept it more decorative & subtle than practical. It’s a tranquil scene, after all. But of all the animals here, it’s the Fox that most pleased me. The subtle blending & fluffy textures to his chest came out just as envisaged. Even his armour, with its golden markings & flashes of colour, came together with few changes from my initial sketch.

It’ll be interesting to see what you all make of this one. It’s an idea that came together very quickly, but which took its time when it came to the actual painting. Sure, I wanted to ‘get it right’, but I now feel that something else was going on…

Perhaps I just needed to be ‘Enlightened’!

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